POST TIME: 5 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Lagarde kicks off ECB term facing sceptical Germans
AFP, Frankfurt

Lagarde kicks off ECB term facing sceptical Germans

Christine Lagarde was to kick off her first week as European Central Bank chief with a closely-watched speech in Berlin later yesterday, where she will face a German audience fiercely critical of the bank's easy money policies.

Arriving for her first full day of work in Frankfurt, the former French finance minister told reporters she would meet with staff members at the ECB headquarters before jetting off to the German capital.

Lagarde said she was due to speak at an evening ceremony in honour of "my friend Wolfgang Schaeuble", Germany's parliamentary speaker and veteran ex-finance minister.

Schaeuble, a conservative champion of austerity, is the architect of Germany's strict "black zero" budget policy of not racking up new debts, defying pleas from other EU capitals to increase public spending.

It is also the country that has been among the loudest opponents of the ECB's unprecedented stimulus measures in recent years, arguing that its record-low interest rates and cheap credit were hurting German savers.

Asked whether she would bring up the "black zero" in her speech, Lagarde said: That's a topic that we discuss always together, but privately."